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Gordon Brown has told the Commons that he wants to deliver a new "constitutional settlement" for the British people:

  • He promised twelve transfer of powers from the Prime Minister and the Executive to Parliament – including the Executive’s powers to declare war, request the dissolution of Parliament and key public appointments (including the Governor of the Bank of England and Church of England bishops).
  • He promised the creation of a National Security Council – an idea already proposed by Pauline Neville-Jones some months ago (he went on to nick at least two other Tory ideas).
  • He promised a new ministerial code overseen by an independent adjudicator.
  • He also called for a cross-party debate on a new written Constitution and floated ideas such as weekend voting and a lower voting age.
  • In his only clear nod to the LibDems on PR he promised a full report on the success of the new voting methods used since Labour came to power.
  • Some civil libertarians would be pleased with his announcement that the restrictions on protests in Parliament Square could be lifted.

CameronincommonscropDavid Cameron then had an opportunity to respond – in his first parliamentary clash with Gordon Brown as the new Prime Minister – and his response was very impressive.  In a key passage he said:

"Constitutional change is not the solution because the constitution is not the cause: the cause is broken promises. People will ask how the person who broke this trust can be the person to mend it."

British life is too centralised, the Leader of the Opposition said, and Gordon Brown had been the great centraliser of the last ten years.

The new Prime Minister wants more openness and honesty but as Chancellor, Gordon Brown had levied taxation stealthily and failed to answer questions on the tax credit chaos.

He challenged Gordon Brown to reverse the transfer of power from democratically elected local councils to unelected regional assemblies.

What was the new Prime Minister going to do about the fact that there were two classes of MP in Britain?  MPs for English seats who had no influence on Scottish matters and Scottish MPs like Gordon Brown who could decide how English hospitals and schools were run.

He ended with an attack on Gordon Brown’s failure to grant a referendum on the draft European Treaty.  It was, David Cameron said, yet another broken Labour promise.

The Prime Minister responded by joking that he thought David Cameron had wanted to end Punch and Judy politics.  He quoted Ken Clarke two or three times to back up his positions and embarrass David Cameron but this was definitely an exchange won by the Conservative leader.  He will have raised morale on the Tory benches.  It’s the first Brown-Cameron PMQs tomorrow.  ConservativeHome will be live blogging it.

31 comments for: First blood to Cameron in Commons blast at Brown

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